Andy Murray claimed his very first clay court title on the ATP tour earlier today, with a hard-fought three-set success in Munich over Philipp Kohlschreiber. The final was extended into Monday after the rain had washed out the match yesterday in the first set. Britain's number one required two tie-breaks before he could clinch a richly satisfying 32nd title on the top men's #Tennis circuit.
Frustrating delays in Munich
The Scot had already endured frustrating times during the short clay court tournament. He had been forced to play catch up on Saturday after play was similarly washed out in the German city on Friday.
That left him with two matches to be completed in one day, a tough ask on a player not renowned for previous success on the surface. Yet Murray seems to be growing in his appreciation on clay, defeating tough competitors in both Lukas Rosol and Roberto Bautista
The rain returns
More frustration was to follow in Munich yesterday though. The match had only reached 2-3 with Murray to serve in the first set when the rains returned and forced play to be abandoned for the day.
An early start today saw the crowd witness a tight battle develop between Murray and his German adversary, Kohlschreiber. The first set remained close throughout before the Scot was able to take a mini-break in the tie-break and close it out 7-4 just before the hour mark.
His opponent forced the only break of serve in a lengthy second set in the 11th game.
As often happens, it was Murray who had the first opportunity, wasting three break points in the eighth game for a 5-3 lead. Instead, it was Kohlschreiber who made the breakthrough, with the earlier missed chances no doubt playing on the Scot's mind. With the match level once more, it went into a final set decider to decide the outcome.
Murray comes out on top
Once again, it was tough going for Murray as the final ultimately stretched past the three-hour mark. The world number 24 player was showing little sign of yielding to the higher ranked player. But in a repeat of the first set, it was the British player who took his chance during yet another tie-break, closing out the match 7-4.
Twenty-seven-year-old Murray was clearly delighted afterwards with his 7-6 5-7 7-6 victory. It represented a considerable stepping stone towards what he hopes will be a long run at the French Open later this month.
Room for improvement?
Ever the perfectionist, his after match comments suggested that he had hoped for a speedier conclusion to the match.
With the German making it tough to break serve through serving close to the lines, Murray acknowledged that he was "getting frustrated" as a result.
Murray may have waited a long time for his first clay court title, but British fans have waited far longer. A check of the tennis history records revealed that it was way back in 1976 that a Brit last won. That honour went to former British number one 'Buster' Mottram who took the title that year in Palma.
The lederhosen moment
Despite suggesting before the tournament began that he was unlikely to be interested in wearing lederhosen, Murray relented at the prize giving afterwards. He had already slipped into the pair he had been presented with by the organisers after his victory, before receiving his winner's trophy. In addition, he also pocketed a sizeable 80,000 euros first prize and a brand new BMW sports car. Not a bad day's work it would seem.